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News and Events

Cmiel Funded Internship deadline extended!

Due to a glitch in finding the application information,  we have extended the deadline for applying for the 2014 Cmiel Funded Internship program for Summer, 2014.

Groundbreaking publications by Burns Weston, UICHR Senior Scholar

The September 2013 issue of the British peer-reviewed Journal of Human Rights and the Environment contains two articles by UICHR founder and Senior Scholar Burns H. Weston and colleague David Bollier. In the first they discuss the human right to a clean and healthy environment. Additionally, they launch here a new proposed Universal Covenant, originally put forth in their book Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights, and the Law of the Commons published by Cambridge University Press in early 2013. The editor states that “this proposed Covenant invites all of us to engage in a conversation drawing upon multiple, culturally-diverse visions and languages for ‘speaking’ our respective ‘places’ in the great commons.” This Universal Covenant may be copied and shared and is available for downloading, printing, and dissemination here or on the websites of the Commons Law Project or Edward Elgar Publishing.

Additionally, the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online has just released a significantly updated and expanded version of Weston’s essay on “Human Rights.” The original version of this essay appeared in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1985 and has been described as “a panoramic sweep through four generations of intellectual history”.[1] This new version of the essay is freely available here and should be cited as “Burns H. Weston, ‘Human Rights,’ Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (2013).”


[1] Cmiel, Kenneth. The recent history of human rights. American Historical Review (2004 Feb.), 109(1):120.

Guantanamo: Justice and Human Rights

Captain James Yee will speak on Veterans Day about his experiences as an Army chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yee graduated from West Point in 1990 and converted from Lutheranism to Islam in 1991. A 14 year Army career man, he was assigned to minister to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay after 9/11. Upon his return to the U.S. in September 2003, Yee was arrested by the FBI, blindfolded, manacled and thrown into solitary confinement for 76 days. He was accused of being an operative in a supposed spy ring. Eight months later, all charges were dropped but his life and career were left in shambles. Captain Yee subsequently wrote a book about his experiences titled For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.

Speaking events, all free and open to the public:

Saturday, Nov. 9, 7pm: Cedar Rapids Islamic Center
Sunday, Nov. 10, noon: Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Rapids
Sunday, Nov. 10, 3pm: Cedar Rapids Public Library, Beems Auditorium
Sunday, Nov. 10, 6pm: Iowa City Mosque
Monday, Nov. 11: Veterans Day Celebration, Iowa City
Monday, Nov. 11, 10:30am Front of Old Capitol Building
Monday, Nov. 11, 3pm: Book signing and talk, Prairie Lights Bookstore
Monday, Nov. 11, 7pm: UI Center for Human Rights, C20 Pomerantz Center

Sponsors include the UI Center for Human Rights, Veterans for Peace in Iowa City and Linn County, Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Islamic Center, Iowa City Mosque, Amnesty International, Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility and Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City.


Humanitarian Aid Summit for Syria, Oct. 15

UICHR will facilitate an action planning forum for interested organizations and individuals to identify practical way to aid those directly impacted by the violence in Syria. This event will be held at 7:30pm in Jones Commons, N300 Lindquist Center, 240 So. Madison on the UI campus. Read more in Iowa Now. Visit the website for this event created by the Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities.

Conference on Racial Justice and Disproportionate Minority Incarceration, Oct. 17

This conference will be from 10am-3pm in N300 Lindquist Center, Jones Commons. Speakers are Adrien Wing, UICHR Director; Ben Stone, Executive Director, ACLU-Iowa; and Wayne Ford, Former State Legislator and Current Chair, Iowa Juvenile Justice Advisory Council’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee. Register by emailing

Dwiju Kumar, Adrien Wing, John Lawrence, Alek Durumeric, Greg Hamot

Dwiju Kumar, Adrien Wing, John Lawrence, Alek Durumeric, Greg Hamot


Medical Crisis in Syria: Perspective from Working with Doctors Without Borders

Dr. John Lawrence, former UIHC physician, recently returned from working in Syria with Doctors without Border. He will give a talk on his experiences there on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30pm in Shambaugh Auditorium in the Main Library. His talk is cosponsored by the UI Lecture Committee and UI Students for Human Rights. Read full information on the event here.

Intervention in Syria: Law, Ethics, and Policy

L to R: Keith Porter, Hon. James Leach, Adrien Wing, Nathan Miller, Sara Mitchell, Newman Abuissa, Gerald Sorokin

L to R: Keith Porter, Hon. James Leach, Adrien Wing, Nathan Miller, Sara Mitchell, Newman Abuissa, Gerald Sorokin

The UICHR sponsored a moderated panel discussion on September 11 centered on the legal, political, and moral dimensions of military intervention in Syria, and possible potential effects on the rest of the Middle East. Panelists included:

  • Hon. James Leach, University of Iowa Chair in Public Affairs, Visiting Professor of Law and UICHR Senior Scholar (Moderator)
  • Nathan Miller, Assistant Director, UICHR and Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Sara Mitchell, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science
  • Newman Abuissa, Syrian-American
  • Keith Porter, President and CEO, Stanley Foundation
  • Gerald Sorokin, Executive Director, Louis Shulman Hillel Foundation; Middle East Scholar

Read summaries of the event in the Press Citizen and the Daily Iowan. Also see the article on this event in the Des Moines Register on September 13.

View the panel discussion on YouTube.

‘The Black Monday Movement: Re-energizing the Fight Against Official Corruption in Uganda’

Jacintha Yvonne Nambi, Edward Miner, Professor Adrien Wing, Oscar Ranzo, Jackie Asiimwe, Maria Kummer

Jacintha Yvonne Nambi, Edward Miner, Professor Adrien Wing, Oscar Ranzo, Jackie Asiimwe, Maria Kummer

UICHR Director Adrien Wing met with Jackie Asiimwe, a social justice and political rights activist from Uganda. She is a lawyer by profession and a member of the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers. On the evening of Sept. 23, Ms. Asiimwe spoke at the University of Iowa about the Black Monday Movement.

Uganda is a country challenged by the theft of public resources, meant to provide social services to the people. Official corruption has been growing at alarming rates over the last couple of years. Last year, in opposition to this trend, civil society organizations started a campaign called ‘The Black Monday Movement’. The campaign seeks to rally Ugandans into action against corruption. The movement has registered some gains and the activists have faced some challenges, including police harassment and arrest. This event was co-sponsored by the UI African Studies Program and the UI Center for Human Rights.


UICHR Assistant Director earns PhD in Human Rights

Brian PhD
Brian Farrell, Assistant Director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled “Habeas Corpus in International Law” on Friday, September 20, at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in the National University of Ireland Galway. Professor John Jackson of the University of Nottingham was the external examiner and Professor William Schabas was the internal examiner. Brian’s research was supervised by Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh. Brian earned an LL.M. from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in 2002 and a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1998. In addition to his work with the UICHR, Brian is Director of the Citizen Lawyer Program and a lecturer in the College of Law.

Photo L-R: Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh, Dr. Brian Farrell, Prof. John Jackson, Prof. William Schabas

Wrongful Convictions Expert to Speak at Iowa Law School October 10


Prof. Jon Gould from American University will give a talk entitled “Predicting Wrongful Convictions” at the University of Iowa College of Law on Thursday, October 10. The talk is based on Prof. Gould’s study of the systemic factors that contribute to the conviction of the innocent which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Iowa Law Review. The talk takes place at 5:00 p.m. in Levitt Auditorium in Boyd Law Building and is open to the public. An application for continuing legal education credit is pending. Prof. Gould’s talk is co-sponsored by the Innocence Project of Iowa, the Iowa Law Review, and the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.


More information on Prof. Gould’s research can be found at

Larry May, Distinguished Visiting Professor and Ida Cornelia Beam Scholar, October 16-18

In conjunction with the Department of Philosophy, the UICHR will co-sponsor his visit.

Schedule of Events:

Wednesday, October 16, 12:40pm

Faculty Lounge of Law School, Faculty Speaker Series, (12:20 lunch, RSVP for lunch)

“The UN Charter, Human Rights Law, and Contingent Pacifism”

Thursday, October 17, 7pm

40 Schaeffer Hall, Ida Cornelia Beam Public Lecture, “Traditional and Contingent Pacifism”

Reception (following lecture) at the North Room, IMU

Friday, October 18, 3:30pm

EB 109, Philosophy Department Colloquium, “Innocence and Complicity”


Human Rights Essay Award


This annual competition sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. The 2014 topic is Persons with Disabilities and International Human Rights Law. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the assigned topic. The best articles may be published in the American University International Law Review.


The Academy will grant two Awards, one for the best article in English and one for the best article in Spanish. The Award in each case will consist of the following: a scholarship to the Academy’s Program of Advanced Studies, travel expenses to Washington D.C., housing at the university dorms and a per diem for living expenses. For detailed guidelines about the award please visit: or contact us at:


Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

American University Washington College of Law

E-Mail: Web:



Refugees in the Heartland Conference

April 4-6, 2013

More information